Award Presentations

Carl Coon, Lifetime Achievement Award

Biography: After retiring from a long career as a diplomat, in 2004 Carl Coon was elected to the AHA Board of Directors, shortly afterwards becoming vice president, a position he held for five years. Coon graduated from Harvard with an A.B. in 1949 before engaging on his diplomatic career that took him mostly to Middle East and South Asia, serving as ambassador to Nepal from 1981-1984. After retiring in 1985 he began to write based on his anthropological and evolutionary psychological views about the evolution of human society. His writings include two books: Culture Wars and the Global Village and One Planet, One People, Beyond "Us versus Them." Coon has been an advocate of the idea that the whole world must now be viewed as "us" to cope with current global challenges.

Katha Pollitt, Humanist Heroine Award

Biography: Katha is a feminist poet, writer and essayist focusing her wit on political and social issues, including abortion rights, racism, welfare reform, feminism, and poverty. Her bimonthly column, "Subject to Debate," appears in The Nation magazine, where she began contributing in 1980. Her column won the National Magazine Award for Columns and Commentary in 2003. Her 1992 essay on the culture wars, "Why We Read: Canon to the Right of Me..." won the National Magazine Award for essays and criticism, and she won a Whiting Foundation Writing Award the same year. In 1993 her essay "Why Do We Romanticize the Fetus?" won the Maggie Award from the Planned Parenthood Federation of America. She has written two books of poetry, Antarctic Traveller, which won the National Book Critics Circle Award, and The Mind-Body Problem. Her work has been included in multiple anthologies and she has been a guest on numerous national TV and radio programs.

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